Lionel Messi was left “speechless” after Rafael Nadal admitted he needs him to win the Laureus Award, regardless of having been nominated himself.
The icons are each amongst a star-studded shortlist of nominees for the celebrated gong, handed out annually to the world’s finest sportsman, The Sun studies.
Nadal, 36, may win the prize for the third time – having additionally picked it up in 2011 and 2021.
But the standard Spaniard, whereas honoured to be nominated, says he needs Messi to win it as an alternative.
He wrote on Instagram: “An honour to be nominated once more to the Laureus Sportsman of the yr… however… this yr… let’s go Messi, you deserve it.”
In response to tennis favorite Nadal, Messi gushed: “That an athlete as nice as you says that about me leaves me speechless…
“Thank you very a lot, Rafa Nadal, you additionally deserve every little thing for the way in which you compete each time you exit on the courtroom.
“You’re a winner, perhaps we’ve plenty of competitors there, huh? You additionally deserve the Laureus award this yr, actually.”
Lionel Messi had an unbelievable yr in 2022, successful the World Cup with Argentina. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)Source: Getty ImagesRafael Nadal after successful the 2022 French Open at Roland Garros. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Messi, 35, impressed Argentina to World Cup glory in 2022, successful the match’s Golden Ball award and scoring twice within the closing.
He additionally helped Paris Saint-Germain reclaim the Ligue 1 title from Lille.
Nadal, in the meantime, endured an injury-plagued yr – however was imperious when he was in a position to play unencumbered by bodily illnesses.
He scooped a surprising Australian Open title in January 2022, by some means defeating Daniil Medvedev from two units down.
He then gained his 14th French Open – and report twenty second Grand Slam total – comfortably beating protege Casper Ruud within the closing.
In the Sportsman of the Year class, Nadal and Messi are up towards Kylian Mbappe, Steph Curry, Max Verstappen and Mondo Duplantis.
While footballer Alexia Putellas and tennis world No 1 Iga Swiatek have been included on the Sportswoman of the Year shortlist.
– This article initially appeared on thesun.co.uk and was reproduced with permission.